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There can't be a more pleasant way to wake up in the morning than to wake up to your beautiful young daughter gently stroking your face. The big girls have been coming down stairs and crawling into bed with Kari in the morning while I have been gone and letting her get an extra half hour of sleep.

Yesterday, Kari woke up to Rylee stroking her cheek. My wife peeked one eye open and smiled at her daughter. Rylee smiled back and said "Poop." "Oh oh." Kari thought.
"Okay, just a minute and I will help you." Kari said as she rolled out of bed. She lead Rylee to the bathroom to clean her up. Rylee had already remove the soiled undergarment, which was nowhere to be found. After cleaning her up Kari asked "Where are the dirty pull-ups?" Rylee lead her to the diaper pail and pointed. Kari lifted the lid and peered inside. She found the missing pull-up, she also found several wet wipes that had recently been used. Yes, Rylee had been trying to clean her self. Kari glanced down at Rylee, who held her hands up over her head, fingers splayed wide, and announced "Wash-a-hans!" The same hands that had been gently caressing her face as she was sleeping were covered with "objectionable material."

Needless to say, Kari gave Rylee's hands and her own face a good scrubbing.

Backyard Nanny

The jungle gym seems to be having the desired effect. The big girls occupy themselves for hours on playing on it. The only drawback so far is that they have not figured out how to propel themselves on the swings yet and insist on being pushed. There have been a few meltdowns when we told them they were going to have to make due without us for a few minutes.

I was feeling a little guilty about buying the jungle gym. It was pretty expensive. However, since we have no help during the day anymore it made sense to me to have something like that, where the big girls could be distracted for a good stretch of time. I figure that it will pay for itself in a matter of weeks compared to having a live-in nanny.























We have lift off

Jordan just pulled herself into a standing position. I figured that we were at least WEEKS away from that. Just in the last couple of days she has really figured out how to crawl. We tried to get a picture of it, but she couldn't hold her self up that long.

Madi is not far behind.


The opponents have gone mobile and can now attack from unexpected directions. You really have to watch were you step. It is not uncommon now to set a baby down on the floor, go get a bottle and then have to make a room to room search for said baby.



Jordan especially has taken to the crawling and seems pretty pleased with herself for figuring that out. Madison, as usual, is about a week behind. She can skooch across the room, but her technique needs some work.

They have also gotten pretty good at moving about in their walkers. They can work up a pretty good head of steam from one end of the kitchen to the other. Whoever designed those walkers either has a sense of humor or is a moron. The bottom of those walkers are just the right height to glide over your toes gash the sensitive skin on the top of your foot. More than once I have been forced to throw myself in front of an onrushing walker and subject my feet to sever damage to save a toddler who was playing carelessly in the middle of the thoroughfare/kitchen. It makes me uneasy thinking of when they turn sixteen and want to drive. Right now they are utterly reckless, a down right menace, showing complete disregard for their own safety and the safety of those around them.










Rylee and Reagan both continue to amaze me. Even taking into account my obvious bias, I think that they are both very bright. Rylee is very organized and likes to have her toys placed in patterns, symmetrically, when she plays. She has gotten into puzzles and surprised me with how well she was doing with a 100 piece jigsaw. Her vocabulary is expanding rapidly, even to include one four letter word that Kari let slip while changing Madison and finding no diapers and no wipes after removing a very soiled diaper.


Reagan is picking up many words also and likes to do everything that Rylee does, much to Rylee's chagrin. You know that your brother or sister always has the better toy. Pushing is still an issue with both of them, but Rylee is usually the instigator. However, they can play nice and do spend plenty of time chasing each other around the house.

The big girls have gotten in the habit of coming down stairs and crawling into bed with us first thing in the morning, I love it.

You know what I mean.

Hilda went home to Mexico on Friday. We sent her off with mixed emotions. She has been a huge help, but having someone live in your house is quite an invasion of privacy.

It is a lot of work just keeping the kids fed and happy. I am sure that the house organization will suffer due to the loss of an extra set of hands.

Enough is enough!:

We have, now that Hilda is gone, decided that the twins are ready to sleep/cry through the night. The last two nights we have turned the monitors off so that we could wake up every 15 minutes to look at the lights on the monitors to see if they were crying. We weren't really able to do that while Hilda was here, because the babies would wake her up and she would get up to hold them. The language barrier made it difficult to explain that we wanted to let them cry and learn to sooth themselves or maybe she just was doing what she wanted (I expect that was the case at least some of the time.) We are still having the night nannies come in the late afternoon till the twins go to bed. 5p.m to 9p.m. is still the bewitching hour. I don't know what it is about that time of day, but it gets crazy.

The reflux is still an issue. They are doing much better, but it is a struggle to get the twins to eat more than about 3 oz. in a sitting. I tend to give up after a little while and figure that they will eat more later. Rarely do I get them to eat much more after the screaming and twisting starts. Kari seems to have the magic touch, that or maybe she is just more persistent. She is a die hard and will work on them for what seems like hours (see the post re: postnatal jujitsu). It can be very frustrating, but I don't think that the twins would be doing as well as they are, weight wise, if it weren't for Kari's efforts. Although, I have seen her get frustrated enough to sling the bottle across the room she seems pretty upbeat at the end of the evening. I think that there is hope for us.

"WASH THEIR HANDS! WASH THEIR HANDS!" Kari was yelling franticly.

She was sticking her head in the back door, hollering like the house was on fire. You can probably guess what they had gotten into to elicit such a reaction from my, usually calm, wife.

Reagan has a toy grocery cart that has migrated from upstairs out to the back yard. Normally, she will cart around stuffed animals, sometimes cups, and occasionally rocks. This day she found a new product with which to fill the basket. And she sure did have a large quantity of it piled up on her cart.

I had been meaning to make the rounds of the back yard with my trusty shovel to pick up after the dogs, but I just had not gotten around to it yet. Now I don't have to.

This is what the GI specialist says to us after we spent ten minutes explaining what is going on. I was thinking "Great, this guy is going to tell us that we are morons, the kids are fine, and send us packing." I was feeling a little self conscious and wondering if I should be feeling silly about bringing the twins in to see him. "Maybe this is as good as it gets and I need to quit whining about it."

But, that wasn't the case. He saw that there was indeed a problem. He was merely curious, and I mistook his comment for an admonishment. "Why do they still have reflux?" " Why didn't your doctor refer you sooner?" "Why did you wait this long to come to me?" "I can help" is where he was going with that line of questioning. Most infants have outgrown the reflux by this stage and I think that he was intrigued. New material for his books and medical mysteries to unravel.

As Kari said in her last post the twins are doing much better on the new meds and we are feeling less like we are in a crisis situation.

I know that there are several people who read this blog to keep up and feel connected. Sorry that we have not posted for so long. I think I was a little down in the mouth and just wasn't up to it.

There is more to tell, but I just got home from a long trip and it will have to wait.

Sorry for not updating sooner. Both Mark and I have had annoying colds, but we seem to be on the mend. Reagan had a slight fever for a few evenings and got picky with her eating, but she is now back to herself. I think she would eat all day if we let her. Rylee started running a slight fever last night and was not her self, but seems to be maintaining. Luckily the twins have shown no signs of sickness.

My doctor appointment got moved to April 30th, because the appointment desk screwed up. Now I have to wait longer to see what is going on, but the nurse said if the pain got bad, she has a prescript ready.

Mark got a lot of the play gym done, but it seems like there is a lot more to go. Not a very good project for instant gratification.

Hilda is leaving Friday for Mexico. It is bittersweet. We love her and the girls are gonna miss her, but it will be nice to get our family back to "normal" chaos.

Rylee keeps getting taller. I have been trying to get her dresses for this summer for ease with the big girl potty and her self reliant behavior. I bought her 3T, too short. Then 4T, again too short. I think it depends on where I buy them. The discount stores seem to run smaller than say Gymboree. She is still very into her art and amazes me each day.

Reagan has become more motherly with her babies. She mimics everything we do with the twins. On the other hand, I keep wondering why I am not losing weight. Coloring on the walls, "No!" She giggles, then runs full speed to the kleenex box. Pulls multiple kleenex out, "No!" She giggles, then runs at full speed and pulls a plug out of a wall. "NO!" Giggle. Run. What next? Repeat.

Madison and Jordan saw the great Dr. Vardabedian, Pediatric GI specialist. He switched some meds. They are still on 15mg Prevacid in the morning, but now on Bethanechol three times a day. We have seen great improvement. Of course there are still some symptoms, but not near crisis at all. He will see them again early June. If they are still having reflux symptoms at that age then he will look at other avenues. Parenting Solved is his website blog and I have found great information and humor along with other sites he has noted regarding moms and parents.

Both Madison and Jordan are doing great things. Madison seems to be 3 to 7 days behind Jordan, but catches up quickly. Jordan is sitting up on her own very well and braces herself from falling. Madi sits well, but we still need to be close at hand for the backward lunge. Madi is rocking on her hands and knees, and JoJo is rocking and moving forward. They are both trying to crawl and climb up on things. Yes I have noticed more grey hairs on my head! They are doing very well on Stage 3 foods and some table foods. They scarf down cheerios and puffs. Texture doesn't seem to be a problem, which is a very good sign for their reflux. They are both finding their voices. Madi has said Ma and Ba, but Jo Jo will "talk" to everyone and anything. Jo Jo had a deep loving conversation with the couch pillow the other night. Hugs, kisses, and sweet nothings.

All in all I think we are doing very well, and all of our girls are amazing. It's hard to keep up with them, but I have a strong sensation they are gonna keep us young, even though we may grey and have aches and pains.

Words don't do justice to the frustration.

The reflux issues have peaked, and I don't know why. We are back to the twins screaming in terror when you put a bottle in front of their faces. Even leaning her back into a position that you could feed her causes her to burst into screams of protest. This morning Madison woke at 5 a.m. Usually, when they wake in the night they will eat several oz and go back to sleep. She would not even allow the nipple in her mouth. I know that she must be hungry, she has had only 4 oz since 4:45 p.m. yesterday. I finally got her to go back to sleep in the swing after an hour of trying to get her to eat.

I am due to start a trip this morning and I am concerned about the kids and my wife. Kari was talking about taking the twins to the hospital today. However, she didn't want me to call in sick for my trip and didn't want me to have more nannies come over today. I am not sure how the logistics are going to work there.

I was fearful of having tubes run down their throats again, but at this point I am willing to try anything if it will make them feel better.

ALL CAPS FOR ONE HANDED TYPING.

KARI WENT TO THE GROCERY STORE, MOSTLY JUST TO GET OUT I THINK. I HAD THE BRILLIANT IDEA TO OPEN THE BOXES AND SORT THE PIECES OF THE JUNGLE GYM, WHILE SUPERVISING FOUR KIDS. I KNEW IT WAS A BAD IDEA, BUT I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF. I THINK THE BEHAVIOR IS AKIN TO BEING UNABLE TO ASK FOR DIRECTIONS OR ASSEMBLING TOYS ON CHRISTMAS MORNING WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A GLANCE AT THE INSTRUCTIONS.

IT STARTED OUT WELL ENOUGH. I MOVED THE TWINS OUT BACK IN THEIR SCOOTER CHAIRS. YOU KNOW THE KIND WITH THE WHEELS AND THE SEAT THAT JUST LETS THEIR TOES TOUCH THE GROUND. SO FAR SO GOOD. I FIGURED THAT THE CHANGE OF SCENERY WOULD KEEP THEM OCCUPIED AND IT DID, FOR AWHILE.

OBVIOUSLY RYLEE AND REAGAN JOINED US SO THAT I COULD KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. I DO KNOW BETTER THAN TO LEAVE THEM UNSUPERVISED, EVEN FOR A MOMENT. THE BIG GIRLS ARE ALWAYS UP FOR GOING OUT SIDE. RYLEE WAS EVEN MORE INTERESTED (Kari just got home) when I told her that we were going to open the boxes.

Things were going pretty good for about 5 minutes. I opened the first box and found the directions. I was searching for the inventory. When I looked up I noticed that Reagan had removed several items from the box so I put them on the table and returned to the inventory list. Then Jordan began to cry, so I paused to pacify her. Now Reagan had moved several pieces from the box to soak them in her water table. As I was fishing those items out of the water she was making an other trip to the box. Now Rylee is helping her and Madi is crying. Have you ever attempted to herd cats?

At about this point all the wheels came off my plan and I spent several minutes with a wailing infant in one arm, making funny faces at the infant in her walker, and using the other arm to secure loose pieces of the, as yet unassembled, jungle gym and corral two toddlers. I was forced to retreat indoors witch did not please the big girls at all and they let it be known.

This is not a one man job.

We were a little amused listening to a woman in the waiting room at the doctor's office. She was patiently explaining to her 4 year old that she would have to be very good and listen closely when they got to were they were going because it was only going to be Mommy watching "BOTH" kids. (What a sissy.)

Yep we went back to the doctor again. I feel like that office is my second home. We better get a Christmas card from them, with all the business we have been providing. The twins got some more shots and the doctor discussed their continuing reflux issues with us. Our biggest question was "Is this as good as it is going to get?" "Are we ever going to have zero symptoms of reflux?" The answer was a little vague. We should be able to make them relatively pain free, but there are still going to be symptoms. We were thinking that if we knew that this was as good as it gets, it would be easier to deal with, easier to accept.

The doctor consulted with the specialist and called us shortly after we got home. The medication he says, is already at the maximum dosage that he would be comfortable with, but maybe they have a milk allergy "Why don't you try soy based formula and thicken all of the bottles with rice?" Ok, we have tried soy before but decided to give it another go.

Upon reflection, given the results of our attempt to change their diet, we would have tried soy first, then the rice. It did not go well. The twins are difficult to feed at the best of times. The combination soy rice mix resulted in gagging and screaming and for the rest of the day they would scream at the mere sight of the bottle. I think we may have traumatized them.

From 4 p.m till 9 p.m. we had at least two kids crying at any one time. You would think that you could put up with almost anything for six hours, but that will dive you crazy. We were feeling a little desperate by nine. It is really a helpless feeling having your kids in pain and not being able to do anything about it. Kari spent hours and several bottles of soy formula trying to find a consistency that the girls would eat. It really did get to the point that I was terrified to try to feed them again for fear of making it worse.

After nine I think they just wore themselves out. We finally got some of the old formula down their necks and they passed out for a little while. It was a long day. And we were/are about as tired as I can remember being.

Madi only woke up once and went right back to sleep after a bottle and Jordan slept all night. So that was a blessing. I don't think I could have done an all-nighter. Today they seem happier, but have not eaten much. We plan to try one more bottle of soy this afternoon to see if that works.

The play gym project is still looming over my head. I got all the boxes moved to the back yard, but have not had the courage to open them yet. We have had two days of rain which has also hampered the construction effort.

Inconclusive

Kari is back from the doctor and the results are, as the title of this post reflects, inconclusive. The doctor says that she may have polyps or it could be a/several cysts. They took some blood to check her thyroid and hormone levels. She is scheduled for a sonogram on the 21st that should tell us more.

Bob the Builder

As Kari mentioned we just spent part of our tax refund on a play gym for the girls. The prices of these things seem a little outrageous to me, but I like to think of it as an investment in our sanity. The girls love to play on swings and slides, so if we have one here at the house where they can burn off some energy while we can still get things done around here, that is a good thing.

Construction will likely start tomorrow. I even roped my good friend Jay Bason into helping out. Unfortunately, his schedule doesn't coincide with mine. That is the trouble with associating with pilots.

I just uploaded some more photos of Rea. You would think that she has a 50/50 shot of getting her shoes on the right feet, but she never does. I wonder if she puts them on the wrong feet on purpose.

The potty training continues with Rylee. It seems like maybe she has regressed a little (there have been some "uh ohs"), but I guess that happens. Overall she is doing pretty well. Kari even got her to use the public toilet at Sam's without protest. We have been encouraging Rea to use the potty also, but have not really gone out of our way, just encouraging her when she does it on her own. It is pretty overwhelming trying to take care of the infants and deal with the potty training of just Rylee.

I have come down with a cold again and I am hoping that I don't infect anyone else. It seems like I have been sick more that well since the twins came home. I think all the red eye flights from last month have caught up with me. I honestly don't know how it can be legal to do all those red eyes back to back. The FAA seems to be so strict on all the other flight time limitations, but nothing seems as dangerous to me as five days in a row of red eye flights. Maybe some people have better luck adjusting their bodies to staying up all night, but I am a wreck at the end of day 5.

Kari is at the doctor right now. She says that the pain is better than it was, but I am still glad that she is getting checked out. She should be calling me anytime to let me know what the doctor has found.

Well, it has been a bumpy road, but it seems to be getting a little easier. I am feeling pretty up beat about the whole situation. It should be interesting to see how we do when Hilda leaves in two weeks. As much as it has stressed us out to have so many people in the house, I can not discount how much help she has been.

Reflux

I'm not sure if Mark told yall, but we have an appointment with the best GI specialist around. Okay, it is for late June, but our pedi ( we changed) will try to get sooner. He wrote the book called Colic Solved. If you have ever suspected "Colic" or have dealt with reflux, please read his book. You won't feel alone, and get verification as a parent with screaming infants, and also get advise on methods to take. We are going to the girls 9 month appointment, shots and all, but also to re-evaluate the reflux meds we are doing. It has honestly been a crap shoot lately and mixed blessings - they have gotten separation anxiety. I have to sneak to go to the bathroom and only momma can feed them and get a good ounce result. I lost Rylee and Reagan to Daddy about the time I got pregnant again. Don't worry Grandmom, I still got the twins attention! No pregnancy in sight! Or wanted!

I still think they are having issues, but not necessarily reflux . I think some of it is consistency in feedings. I have technically five people feeding them at any given time. of course none of us do it the same. Although, I have researched my many logs of feeding and come to the conclusion that I need to feed the girls. Great for them, bad for me. That feed that someone else does may mean a shower for me or a catnap. Gone!

It's mixed, because I absolutely love that two of my girls "need me", but then again I am pasty white and need a tan! Ha! Ha!

I have also been having some problems of my own internally, but I have the great Gyno appt tomorrow. So we shall see. Yes, Momma, I will call you!

Bottom Line if you have an infant that seems miserable and your doctor says colic, let that be a sign. Colic is a word for I don't know. And most "colic" cases are some how related to reflux or allergy.

Oh, and if someone knows how I can get insurance to pay for hypoallergenic formula which costs us about $450 x 2 a month please advise!

Mark has developed a cold, and must wear a mask when he comes home....yeah. That's natural and easy!.

I hope I'm not calling you out, but I hear a very good friend Jay is coming to help put together momma's sanity aka play gym. Yes that was our small percent refund play money! We chose the kids this year, and I really think it will benefit me more that they may enjoy it! It has been very hard not to tell Rylee and Reagan. I'm very excited for them, but they don't understand that it may take a few days to install.

I have alot to do, to get organized, and my sweet nanny will be leaving in about two weeks. It is a mixed emotion. On one hand I have had someone here for a whole year in May - You know you can't run around naked or pick your nose, or stay in your pajamas for a week. On the other hand I truly love her as do my girls and well its going to be bitter sweet.

Sweetheart, I think of you every day. Unfortunately I lost your mailing address. I have a very belated birthday card and a letter for you. Please note that the birthday card was on time, but then I searched desperately for your address. I love you and talk to all the girls about Aunt Bekah, Aunt Amy, Uncle Josh, and Uncle Aaron.

I want you to know I have become very involved in aromatherapy and it works. I have a great formula for de-stressing the girls and even helping my back. I'm still learning, But Grandmom Donna has suggested I post formulas that are working for my family. I will do that and am open to the formulas you are learning. Email me, my address is at the top right side. I love sis, and I thank you for the great help you were while I was on bedrest.

Hugs for you!

It was so great to see you Beth! I have missed you so much! Can't wait to plan a dinner or drinks with you.

And to all you other Express chicks, you know who you are, don't be shy!

I don't need a mom group to talk about spit up, reflux, or sing Itsy Bitsy Spider. I need a woman group to gossip about movie stars, teach me how to play bunco, nag about our motherhood bodies, listen to good music, just hang out for sanity sake!

Love ya!

P.S. I added my email at the top right hand side of this page.

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